- Royal tour artist was given chance to capture sights of the state visit to Kenya
- Phillip Butah, 42, is required to give the art to the royal collection
- Role was created to give up-and-coming artists chance to travel with the King
As he returns from Kenya, King Charles will bring home a host of memories – and thanks to his patronage of a talented artist, some will be immortalised on canvas.
Royal tour artist Phillip Butah, 42, was offered the chance to capture the sights of the state visit for posterity with just one proviso: One of the paintings must be given to the Royal Collection.
His role was created when Charles was Prince of Wales to offer an up-and-coming talent the opportunity to travel with him. He even pays for their costs personally.
However, this is the first time he has been able to take someone away as King, and his choice of Mr Butah reveals a remarkable untold story.
The two met when Mr Butah was 14 after his teacher at St Bonaventure’s School in Forest Gate, east London, secretly entered him into Young Artists’ Britain: The Prince of Wales’s Young Artists’ Award.
Phillip Butah previously painted the then Prince Charles in 2009. The finished pictures have never been publicly exhibited, but one can be seen here for the first time
The hugely talented artist from East London was offered the chance to join the visit on the condition that all the paintings that he produces should be donated to the Royal Collection
‘His Majesty has shaped my career in so many ways. I was so honoured to be asked,’ Mr Butah said about his role as tour artist
Mr Butah went on to become the youngest winner, and was invited to Clarence House to meet Charles, who inspired him to become an artist and study at the famous London art college Central Saint Martins. Mr Butah said: ‘The King has been life-changing for me. It made me realise there are no boundaries.’
He has collaborated on several albums and a book with musician Ed Sheeran, whose parents organised the Young Artists’ Award.
In 2009, he asked the King to sit for him. The finished pictures have never been publicly exhibited, but one can be seen here for the first time.
‘He’s really kept an eye on my career,’ Mr Butah said. ‘He is an artist himself so he really gets it. And he’s a great subject. I found him quite shy, funnily enough.’
Speaking of his role as tour artist, he added: ‘His Majesty has shaped my career in so many ways. I was so honoured to be asked. I couldn’t quite believe it. What’s caught my eye in Kenya has been the response to the King. His being here has meant the world – you can just see it.’ His sketches and photos from Kenya are the basis for paintings of the state visit he will produce at his home in Colchester, Essex. He said of Charles: ‘I want the world to know how supportive he is of the arts. I’m just a guy from east London and here I am in Kenya with the King.’
Yesterday, Charles and Camilla rounded off their successful four-day state visit to Kenya – the King’s first trip to a Commonwealth nation since his accession – at Fort Jesus, a Unesco World Heritage Site.